Objects of clay, stone, bone and shell from this period have survived until today. During 200 AD until 900 AD numerous villages existed in the Sula Valley. During this period, the area's art reached its highest point technically and aesthetically. Pottery and ceramic vessels were taken to Copan and further afield into Central America. Also, during this time, the major architectural structures were built in the valley.
During 900 AD and 1500 AD the local population began to decline. No one is certain why, but recent discoveries have pointed towards the possibility of a plague, severe erosion, soil degradation and/or a long drought as possible reasons.
Pedro de Alvarado founded the city of San Pedro Sula in 1536. The city was to serve as a warehouse for goods flowing to and from the Honduran North Coast Ports to Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. It was also a collection point for cocoa, indigo, leather, sarsaparilla and canfistula (a plant used medicinally).
Due to continual attacks of the city by pirates, the local residents decided to move away from the city into the countryside where they lived a self sufficient life. The city was nearly deserted until the later colonial era when it became a base for cattle ranchers.
In the mid 19th century, San Pedro Sula's fortunes changed when commerce picked up at the port of Omoa and San Pedro Sula again became an important commerce spot in Honduras. But it was the growth of the Banana Industry and the reopening of Puerto Cortes that really set the city in motion to become Honduras commerce center.
Today San Pedro Sula is one of Central America's fastest growing
cities. Business and commerce continue to grow to today as does
the city's modern facilities and services.
Guamilito Market is one the Honduras' best handicraft markets. The market is between 8 and 9 Avenida and 6 and 7 Calles NO. The market is open daily, usually until around 5pm. The market is a great place to pick up souvenirs and gifts. Items of note are Honduran cigars, mahogany carvings, Mayan replica pottery, woven baskets, hammocks and a range of colored T-Shirts. Spend some time browsing and do not be afraid to bargain on the prices.
The Central Park of San Pedro Sula and the main Cathedral are definitely worth a look. The Cathedral, which was built in 1949, has just been remodeled and restored. The new Central Park (Parque Central) is open, fresh looking and at well lit at night. The park is always busy, with people coming and going and moneychangers and street vendors plying their trade. It's a great place to sit back and people watch or to strike up a conversation with some locals. If it is a little hot outside, a popular place to hang out is the Espresso Americana Café, which fronts onto the park. It's air conditioned and serves up great coffee and pastries.
The Coca Cola sign can be seen most days from the downtown
area in its position on the Merendon Mountain Range, which is
a only a 10 minute taxi ride from downtown. At night, if running,
the sign flashes Coke colors and fades in and out. Whether you
are a coke fan or not, a hike up to the sign is a good way to
escape downtown and to see some great views of the Sula Valley.
The walk takes about 1 to 2 hours and goes through some nice rainforest
where Toucans and Motmots are regularly seen. Motmots are a brilliantly
colored bird and Honduras has more species than any other country.
The city is home to a few football teams from the national league and a game is quite an experience to see, not just for the high quality of football but also for the atmosphere of the crowd and for the local passion that is a part of true Latin American Football. North Americans will know this brand of football as soccer. Games are regularly held in the Olympic Stadium or the Francisco Morazon Stadium, which is located on 1 Calle between 13 and 14 avenida. Tickets start at US$3 depending on the seating and the game.
San Pedro Sula is a good place to base yourself during a visit
to Honduras, especially if you like the comforts of a big city.
Day trips can be organized to Tela, Lake Yojoa, Omoa and the Mayan
Ruins of Copan, with local travel agents or tour operators. Many
rental car companies have offices in San Pedro Sula, which is
another option for traveling around to explore the many nearby
Microtel Inn and Suites
Close to Central Park you will find the Hotel Terraza, which is popular with national visitors and travelers. The hotel offers a range of room types with varies prices. The hotel also has a restaurant, which serves up good value meals. The hotels central location makes it a good choice when visiting San Pedro Sula.
Another popular hotel in the downtown area is the San Jose a budget option, which offers clean rooms and 24-hour security.
Hotel San Jose
Freds Kitchen is located in a new location on 7 Calle,
19 Ave SO in Barrio Rio de Pierdas. The Restaurant has an international
menu, friendly staff and good service and is one of the best value
for money restaurants in San Pedro Sula.
Chef Marianos is located in Zona Viva and offers a range
of Honduran and Garifuna dishes, seafood dishes being a specialty.
Las Carnitas is located in Zona Viva and is a local favorite,
for its open-air atmosphere, occasional live music and Honduran
style beef and chicken dishes.
Pamplona is located in Central Park and is a local icon.
The place gets very busy during lunch times and breakfasts. It
offers a range of national and international dishes at very good
prices, such as chicken soup for only $1.50. The restaurant is
AC and offers a nice place to escape with a cool drink and coffee
from the downtown heat.
Antojitos Mexicanos has 2 popular locations, one downtown
in Central Park the other on the Circunvalacion near Zona Viva.
Antojitos is one of the cheapest places to eat in the city, with
Mexican style tacos, enchiladas, tortas and so on. The Circunvalacion
branch has its own groups of Mariachis who strum and blow their
stuff in the evenings for the patrons, nice place to eat cheap,
drink a beer or two and to soak up some local atmosphere.
San Pedro Sula is home to a lot of additional eating options,
which have a wide range of prices from budget to upper class.
There is far to many to list here the above places are just some
recommended places to start. Other notable Restaurants are Ruby
Tuesdays, TGI Fridays and Applebee's. Also if you missing
Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, Church's Chicken, Popeye's,
and so forth, San Pedro Sula has no shortages of fast food places.
Or better still try some of the local fast food places such as
Pollo Campero, Bicos, Power Chicken (great name) or 2 x 1 Pizza.
The Mall Multi Plaza, Mega Plaza and Metro Plaza all have cinema complexes. Closer to downtown you will find 2 or 3 cinemas, Multicines Plaza being the best. Movie releases are a few months behind the USA or Western Countries. Most movies are shown in English with Spanish subtitles. Ticket prices range from $1.20 to $2.50 depending on the cinema and to extent the quality of their facilities. So if you enjoy the movies and like nice chairs and good sound try one of the more up market places. Movies are usually shown at 3, 5, 7 and 9 PM. Tuesday is a popular day, with 2 tickets for the price of one, but be prepared to go early to get a seat, as sometimes tickets do sell out. All local papers have a daily cinema schedule.
San Pedro Sula is home to a lot of bars. A fun night can be had
in Zona Viva going from bar to bar. A local favorite and
fun place to hang out is La Cava in Barrio Los Andes 2
and 3 Calle, 16 Ave NO. Great Karaoke nights and occasional live
music on the weekends packs the people in. Jerry the owner mixes
a range or cocktails. Watch out for the Barcardi 121 or ask if
he has some Guaro for a fire packed drink. There is a good selection
of music and the patrons are always happy to have a chat.
TGI Fridays, Applebee's, Ruby Tuesdays and Fogancito's are
all popular places to eat and drink on the weekends. All places
are well located near the Circunvalcion.
The pick of the discos is Kawamas Bay, which is located on the Circunvalcion. The disco plays a lot of Latin music and has a friendly staff. It can get very busy on the weekends usually around 11.00 PM. The disco stays open to 5 AM or 6 PM and it is a place to dance. You will find more people on the dance floor than at the bar or tables and chairs for most of the night. So put on your dancing shoes and be ready for some Salsa, Merengue and Punta. No need to worry, since you will still get a bit of house, rock and techno music. Cover charges vary from $2.50 to $6, depending on the night.
Confetti's Disco is also popular and is only located a block on from Kawamas Bay. Confetti's also fills up on the weekends and stays open to around 5am or 6am. The disco plays a variety of music on the weekends and a bit more house and techno music than Kawamas Bay. Cover charges vary from $2.50 to $6.
Millenium Disco is located in the Social Club Arabe at the end of Barrio Rio Pierdas the disco is the classiest place in town. Friday and Saturday nights are busy and cover charges vary from $3.50 to $6.
The Sampedrano Cultural Center holds regularly events such as concerts, performances and art shows. Call (504) 553-3911 or 553-3768 for event schedules.
For safety reasons, be sure to take a taxi when traveling even
just a few blocks after dark. Walking around Zona Viva is OK but
only within a block or two radius of the area. Otherwise just
get a taxi, most fares cost $2 to $3, but prices do go up the
later the night gets.
WHEN TO GO AND WHY
The Fair, though not as well known as Carnival in La Ceiba, offers
a good chance to join the Sanpedranos in celebrating their city.
Again at nights be sure to take a taxi other than that it is a
great time to visit San Pedro Sula.
HOW TO GET THERE
Buses to and from San Pedro Sula leave to and from most major locations in Honduras, including Copan Ruinas, Tegucigalpa, Tela and La Ceiba, with some traveling direct and non-stop and others stopping in route. Each of the capitals of the countries surrounding Honduras are also served by buses: Managua, San Salvador, Guatemala City. Each bus company has its own station but most are found a few blocks west of Central Park.
MAJOR BUS COMPANIES
El Rey Express
Toritos and Copanecos
Microtel Inn and Suites
NOTE: Things can change quickly in San Pedro Sula, so
the information provided, including recommendations and prices
are subject to change.
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